"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Practical Applications - Exempting Your Child from Core French

It's one thing to discuss the big picture of how things should work in the world of special education. It can often be quite another thing to attempt to navigate through that maze on the ground.

I received a question last week asking about how to obtain an exemption from core French for a special needs child in Nova Scotia.
We have requested on several occasions that our son be exempted from French at school because of his disability (PDD-NOS/NLD). We have been told that the school is unable to exempt any student from French and that he will have to continue to take it even though there is no reasonable expectation that he will learn to use it. The school has offered an IPP (although it was never put in place, he currently draws pictures in French class) but we wanted him removed from French so that he could use those classes for organization and catch up (or maybe even some tutorial). We have been told there is no way around this although there are other children in the school who have been exempted from French. What is your take on this?
I ran into this last year with my oldest daughter. Ironically, she has always enjoyed French but I knew the time would come when it would be way over her head. Frankly, I was surprised that it took until Grade 8 before that occurred.

Also, somewhat ironically, although I had questioned the school about the possibility of a French exemption when she started Middle School, the thought never even entered my mind the night I wrote a note in the communication book complaining about the French homework she had brought home. Homework which involved translating whole sentences and which was way beyond her ability. Imagine my surprise to get a note home the next day saying that 'they' understood completely and would be applying for a French exemption for my daughter.

For those not so lucky, let's take a look at how the process of obtaining an exemption should works. Although, first, I should point out that "Core French" is only mandatory from Grades 4 through 9; after that it becomes an elective and the problem is effectively solved.

Much like we discussed in a previous post which set out the relationship between legislation, regulations and policy, the policies of any particular school must be in line with those of their school board. Which, in turn, must be in line with the Department of Education's policies in the relevant area.

As a parent being refused some accommodation, service or plan for your child, you will want want to follow this hierarchy from the top down in order to gather the information you need to make a sound argument. Meaning that first you would look to the Education Act to see if your situation is covered there. Whether or not it is, you would continue through a search of the both the Ministerial and Governor in Council Regulations made under the Act. Then you would continue to search the relevant Department of Education policies and finally your own school board policies.

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1 comment:

ddr said...

Thanks very much for the detailed blawg! Very much appreciated.